God help us there's wildife in the city!

LeilaNami

Arachnoking
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This is how I interpret people's reactions to this bee swarm I saw yesterday outside of a restaurant. My approaching the swarm with little protest from the bees (and some getting comfortable enough after a few warning buzzes to start landing on me) was followed quickly by one ignorant man telling me I was risking my life because they could be africanized. I told him, no, they weren't and I wasn't allergic. This was after I had already walked by the swarm a couple times as well as numerous other people getting within 20 feet of the hive-in-the-making before realizing it was there. There was also a guy with a leaf blower that walked by and a bunch of people sitting on the patio 50 feet away. He accused me of being a biologist as if it was some disgusting practice. {D

This was not a great endeavor for the bees. Over time, the branch was only hanging a foot and a half off the ground. The bent branch they are hanging onto was originally...vertical. {D The restaurant called someone to smoke them out but I left before I witnessed it. Anyway, pics!




 

ZephAmp

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Ah, honey bees. Fun stuff. :p

I would have gotten pretty close too but I'm not an expert on bees so it would be hard to calculate where there flight path is and isn't. :p
 

Aurelia

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Accused of being a biologist, that's rich! :clap: I love how people just randomly start spewing random things about what they know about stuff, which somehow gives them the idea that they're experts, and it's usually entirely wrong. Pretty sure that guy would have found out if they were Africanized long before you approached them.
 

LeilaNami

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Accused of being a biologist, that's rich! :clap: I love how people just randomly start spewing random things about what they know about stuff, which somehow gives them the idea that they're experts, and it's usually entirely wrong. Pretty sure that guy would have found out if they were Africanized long before you approached them.
Yeah he didn't try to argue with me after that. {D It was also fun watching people park their car, notice the swarm, and promptly pull out to go find another parking spot.

To Zeph, I didn't calculate any flight paths either. {D They were too busy doing what they do to pay any attention to what I was doing. I got a few warning buzzes but after standing next to them for a minute, I was ignored.
 

teamster6

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Jan 2, 2011
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Wow too bad you didnt have a bee box that would have been a easy hive to catch. You just put the hive box under and tap them into the box and put on the lid and wham instant beehive.

t6
 

Rue

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Feb 24, 2011
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It's too bad we're so unused to 'nature' these days. All animals apparently need to be locked up or chained...if they're not already banned...
 

Leviticus

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Great pictures that is quite the swarm. It does bother me how detached many people have become from the nature around us, and how little they understand about how it all works together. I am excitedly anticipating the snow melting and the creatures coming out so I can take my daughter out on walks, grab a field book and go searching for some great finds.
 

Bugs In Cyberspace

Arachnodemon
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Consider me ignorant too then because I would have thought Africanized bees were a possibility worth being at least slightly concerned over. How do you tell the difference, or is it just because you are so familiar with that part of Texas and know these bees do not range into there (though they travel, I hear)? I'm moving to a state that has Africanized bees soon, so I'd really like to learn how to tell the difference (without necessarily getting as close as you did)!

Great photos!
 

ZephAmp

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Consider me ignorant too then because I would have thought Africanized bees were a possibility worth being at least slightly concerned over. How do you tell the difference, or is it just because you are so familiar with that part of Texas and know these bees do not range into there (though they travel, I hear)? I'm moving to a state that has Africanized bees soon, so I'd really like to learn how to tell the difference (without necessarily getting as close as you did)!

Great photos!
I think her point was if they were Africanized, you would not have been able to get anywhere near them in the first place due to their aggression.
 

Bugs In Cyberspace

Arachnodemon
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Is that a fact that other readers and myself can bank our lives on though? And what is the definition of "too close"?
 

What

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Is that a fact that other readers and myself can bank our lives on though? And what is the definition of " too close"?
In my experience, yes. You definitely know you are near an Africanized hive/swarm when you get within 30'-50' of them and they start landing on you. :)

Most bees seem to have a comfort range of 10' or so(when they begin "warning" you), ime.
 

zonbonzovi

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I was surprised to see that no one has ever posted a bugguide image of the hybrid.

BICS, when Katie & I were looking into keeping bees, most of the literature we read seemed to conclude that the problem of Africanized bee attacks on humans was overrated. It's usually folks clearing land or doing something that would drastically disturb a nest site that run into trouble. They are kept in S. America for honey production, despite their nasty reputation. That said, a little caution used around any bee colony is probably a good idea.

Edit: Just saw your post Kevin- are they comparable in size to our typical Apis & have you ever been able to photograph them?
 
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LeilaNami

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I was surprised to see that no one has ever posted a bugguide image of the hybrid.

BICS, when Katie & I were looking into keeping bees, most of the literature we read seemed to conclude that the problem of Africanized bee attacks on humans was overrated. It's usually folks clearing land or doing something that would drastically disturb a nest site that run into trouble. They are kept in S. America for honey production, despite their nasty reputation. That said, a little caution used around any bee colony is probably a good idea.

Edit: Just saw your post Kevin- are they comparable in size to our typical Apis & have you ever been able to photograph them?
I also believe that they tend to create hives in more isolated, or at least less populated, places as well if I remember my reading correctly. They hate their hive being disturbed so I'm sure they wouldn't have been comfortable building a hive next to one of the busiest restaurants in the city.

What is also correct because also in my experience our "native" honey bees have by far a smaller personal space bubble than a hybrid. I wasn't even getting those warning buzzes until I was less than a couple feet away from the hive and even then was mostly ignored.

zonbonzovi is also correct in that their "attack everything" reputation is overrated but when disturbed, they can be quite nasty.

Disclaimer: If you are allergic to bees, definitely don't try this.

EDIT: Oh and apparently they are in my area. We have no reports of people dying by massive swarms of evil and death haha
 
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ZephAmp

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I find it interesting that the "killer bees" are being bred selectively for tameness now, and that these "nicer" strains could replace the Italian honeybees and help with the hive collapse problem...
 

What

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Just saw your post Kevin- are they comparable in size to our typical Apis & have you ever been able to photograph them?
I fail at photographing honeybees, so I generally do not even try even though my yard literally buzzes with them feeding on the plants on the hill in my yard, and beyond that I cant tell the difference except by behavior, and when I have been in the vicinity of a hive, my course changed as soon as I identified that I was near a hostile hive. My system is that if you have a bee bounce off of you, its a good idea to take a good look around as it might be a warning, even more so if it happens multiple times; if you have a bee land on you more than once, stop and look around then possibly retreat. I used to see far more wild hives than I do now, but its still something to keep in mind...

I also was witness to a swarm of them when in middle school that was aggravated. They attacked a car that hit a couple of them on its way into the school, freaky stuff.
 

bugmankeith

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If that was by me, they would have instantly been burned or sprayed with pesticides. Nobody likes wildlife here.
 

LeilaNami

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If that was by me, they would have instantly been burned or sprayed with pesticides. Nobody likes wildlife here.
That swarm had actually moved there because the restaurant across the way sprayed pesticides. I talked to one of the managers where the swarm was during the photographs and he had allowed bees to live in his garage. He understood that they weren't trying to harm anyone but because it was a business and some of the customers and workers were allergic, he had opted to get them removed by smoking them out so less harm would be done to the bees and it would stop people from complaining like that guy that accused me of being a biologist. :}
 

desertanimal

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All of AZ's honeybees are Africanized. But you only have to worry about them when you disturb their hive. They don't aggressively protect their food sources and you don't have to worry about bees (Africanized or otherwise) when they're swarming--they have no established hive, at that point, to be protective of.
 
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